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TORIES TO KEEP POLLY PECK CASH.

THE Conservative Party has rejected calls to repay donations received from Asil Nadir's Polly Peck business empire, insisting there is no evidence the money was stolen.

A Labour MP called on the Tories to honour a promise made by former prime minister Sir John Major to return donations totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds if the money was "dishonestly obtained and dishonestly donated".

However, in a statement, the party insisted the money had not come from Nadir but from his company.

"The Conservative Party has no record of having received donations from Asil Nadir," the statement said.

"Donations were received from Polly Peck companies more than 22 years ago; these were accepted in good faith from what was then considered to be a leading British company.

"There is no evidence that money donated to the Conservative Party from the Polly Peck group was stolen." After Nadir's conviction on 10 counts of theft, Labour MP Simon Danczuk said the Conservatives should now pay back the donations they received in the 1980s.

He pointed out that then Tory Party chairman Norman (now Lord) Fowler told the Commons in 1993 that the donation would be returned if it was stolen - a promise repeated to MPs by Sir John.

"Even John Major's government, which was mired in sleaze, knew they'd have to give back Asil Nadir's money if he was found guilty," Mr Danczuk said.

"David Cameron must honour the unequivocal promises the Conservative Party have made to repay the pounds 440,000 they accepted from Asil Nadir in the 1990s. If he doesn't, it will show the Tory Party aren't serious when they claim they want to clean up politics."

Nadir was one of the Conservative Party's biggest benefactors under Margaret Thatcher.

But the good fortune of both ended in the autumn of 1990.

Mrs Thatcher was ousted from No 10 and Nadir was being chased by police, creditors and irate investors. Even his friend Michael Mates, a minister in the Major government, could not help. He had to resign after it was discovered that he gave Nadir a watch inscribed "Don't let the buggers get you down" just before he fled before his trial in 1993.

Mr Mates, who continued as an MP until 2010, turned up at the Old Bailey to speak for Nadir.

The former Northern Ireland minister said he presented Nadir with the birthday present to cheer him up.

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GUILTY: Asil Nadir
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 23, 2012
Words:405
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